How long can you keep canned tomatoes?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long can you keep canned tomatoes?”, and how to store leftover canned tomatoes?

How long can you keep canned tomatoes?

An unopened can of tomatoes lasts indefinitely if stored correctly. However, it is best consumed within 18-24 months. An open can of tomatoes can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Freezing prolongs its shelf-life upto 6 months. 

Canned tomatoes Storage location Storage temperature Storage duration 
Unopened Pantry or kitchen cabinetRoom temperature(approx. 70℉)Best by 18-24 months, but can be stored indefinitely
Opened Fridge 33.8℉ – 40℉Up to 5 days 
Opened Freezer 0℉Up to 6 months 

Can you eat canned tomatoes after the expiration date?

Yes, you can eat canned tomatoes after the expiration date as long as the cans were stored properly. However, the quality attributes like the flavor, color, flavor, and nutritional profile of the canned tomatoes reduce over time. Always inspect the expired canned tomatoes for any signs of spoilage before eating. 

How long are canned tomatoes good after the expiration date? 

Canned tomatoes, if stored properly in a cool and dark place, can easily last for months after their expiration date has passed. It is also important to note that canned food should not be refrigerated if unopened. Once opened, change the container and refrigerate it.

Difference between the Expiry date and the Best-before date 

Canned food lasts indefinitely unless the cans are dented, swollen, rusting, or leaking. That is why canned food comes with a best-by or best-before date instead of expiry date. 

The best-before date is an estimation, made by the manufacturer, of how long the canned product will remain in its peak quality. In other words, the product remains safe after this date but not desirable in terms of quality attributes.  

The expiry date, on the other hand, represents the safety of the product. Once the food expires, it is labeled unsafe for human consumption. 

How to store leftover canned tomatoes?

Leftovers of canned tomatoes should not be allowed to sit for more than 2 hours on the counter. Shift the content of the opened can of tomatoes to a plastic or glass container with a tight seal. Refrigerate the container for upto 5 days. 

For long-term storage, freeze your canned tomatoes after putting them in an air-tight container or a freezer bag. Squeeze as much air as possible from the bag.  Keep in the freezer for upto 6 months. 

How to make canned tomatoes at home?


  • 12 pounds ripe tomatoes
  • 4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp bottled lemon juice
  • 4 sterilized quart jars with lids and rims


  1. Make two perpendicular cuts into the bottom of each tomato. This will allow the peel to easily come off later. 
  1. Pour water into a large pot and bring it to a rolling boil. Add tomatoes to the boiling water. Do not overcrowd the pot.
  1. Boil until the peel of the tomatoes comes loose. Then transfer the tomatoes to a cold water bath. This will halt the cooking process.
  1. Peel the tomatoes and squeeze them into sterilized glass jars such that a ½ inch headspace remains at the top.
  1. Now, sprinkle a tsp of kosher salt and a tablespoon of lemon juice over the tomatoes. Tightly close the jars with the lids and rims.
  1. In a large stockpot, boil water. The volume of the water should be enough to completely submerge the jars.
  1. When the water comes to a rolling boil, place the jars onto a wire rack and carefully lower them into the boiling water. Let the jars boil for 45 minutes.
  1. After 45 minutes, transfer the rack onto a heat-proof surface and let the jars come to room temperature. This will take a couple of hours. 
  1. Check the integrity of the seals by performing different tests. Then store the jars in a cool and dry place for upto a year. 

Other FAQs about Tomato which you may be interested in.

Can you eat a tomato with blossom end rot?

Types of canned tomatoes and their uses

Other than tomato sauce and tomato paste, canned tomatoes come in the following forms. 

Whole peeled tomatoes 

Whole tomatoes are steamed or lye treated, then added with tomato puree and calcium chloride. The later 2 ingredients are optional. Whole peeled tomatoes are best used for making marinara sauce or homemade tomato soup. 

Diced tomatoes and petite diced 

The processing of diced and petite diced tomatoes is quite similar to whole peeled tomatoes. The difference is just that the former contains salt, calcium chloride (firming agent), and citric acid to preserve the color and texture of tomatoes. This type of canned tomatoes is best used for making salsa or wherever a chunky tomato texture is due.

Stewed tomatoes 

Stewed tomatoes offer bigger bites than diced tomatoes. They have added salts, sugars, and herbs for flavor. 

Crushed tomatoes 

The bright and sweet flavored crushed tomatoes are best used for making soups and sauces. They may be canned with tomato juice or tomato puree. The texture varies between chunky and puree-like.


In this article, we answered the question “How long can you keep canned tomatoes?”, and how to store leftover canned tomatoes?